Category: Society

Happy Thanksgiving


OC_rear.jpgWith campus very quiet (though not nearly as leafy as in the photo above), the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. Safe travels and great time with family and friends to all of our students, staff and faculty. 

See you next week.

Dorsey, Garfinkel and Joye elected to AAAS


dorsey_alan_0.jpgFantastic news for the Franklin College and UGA, as three faculty members including Franklin dean Alan Dorsey were elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

an honor bestowed upon them by their peers for "scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications."

These three faculty members are among 401 new AAAS Fellows who will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin—representing science and engineering, respectively—on Feb. 14 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Jose, California.


Dorsey, dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and professor of physics: Dorsey's research in theoretical condensed matter physics seeks an understanding of the peculiar properties of matter subjected to extreme conditions, such as low temperatures and high magnetic fields. Such conditions reveal fundamental quantum-mechanical phenomena that lead to wholly new phases of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids and supersolids.

David J. Garfinkel, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology: Garfinkel's research focuses on "jumping genes" known as transposons, which make additional copies of themselves and insert those copies throughout the genome. The Garfinkel lab has contributed to understanding the mechanism by which transposable genetic elements are mobilized, shape genome structure and function and are regulated by host factors.

Samantha Joye, UGA Athletic Association Professor of Arts and Sciences and professor of marine sciences: Joye is a microbial geochemist by training, and her expertise lies in quantifying rates of microbial hydrocarbon metabolism and environmental geochemical signatures in natural environments. She has studied Gulf of Mexico natural seeps for 20 years and has tracked the environmental fate of oil and gas released from the Macondo well blowout since May 2010.

Thrilling news. New AAAS members from UGA is a key indicator to our peer institutions and a great sign of the intellectual engagement on campus by these leaders in research. Wonderful accolades for the individuals, our college and the university.

Knox named Georgia Professor of the Year by CASE, Carnegie


knox.jpgJust before the holidays, professor John Knox was up in Washington, DC to receive a very prestigious award:

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching have selected the University of Georgia's John A. Knox as the Georgia Professor of the Year for 2014. The honor was conferred Nov. 20 in Washington, D.C., at a national awards celebration.

Knox, an associate professor and undergraduate coordinator in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences geography department, is the first state winner of the award from UGA since 2004 and the first atmospheric scientist from any state to be selected since 1989.

Knox and the other state winners were chosen from nearly 400 top professors nominated by colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

The U.S. Professors of the Year program recognizes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country—those who excel in teaching and positively influence the lives and careers of students. Sponsored by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation, it is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

An outstanding researcher who engages undergraduates in the classroom as well as in his scholarship, Knox's practice reveals a deep regard for teaching that speaks volumes about the learning environment in the department of geography, the Franklin College and UGA. A very well-deserved honor. Congratulations, Dr. Knox.





First-Year Odyssey: an intro to careers


FYO_vet.jpgIn a query in the form of a comment to a recent post, a prosective UGA student asked about the Franklin College and what role, as a prospective veterinary student, Franklin would play in their education. It's a good question.

A very significant role, actually. Aside from its importance to the core curriculum for a host of majors beyond Franklin, preparing students for study in a wide variety of fields and professional schools, the arts and sciences educate us about society in a way that will impact everything we do, whatever our field. The First-Year Odyssey program offers a case in point on this experience:

First-Year Odyssey seminars are designed to introduce students to academic life at UGA, allowing them to engage with faculty and other first-year students in a small class environment. 
In this seminar, Ward, a professor of internal medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine and chief medical officer for small animal medicine, asks students to explore how pets are part of society and what responsibility people have to their pets. But the course also gives students a chance to see and interact with animals.
There were plenty of adoring "oohs" and "ahs" from the class of 15 students as they toured the existing Veterinary Teaching Hospital with Ward and got to see animals of various sizes receiving treatment. The students were especially excited in the large animal wing of the hospital when they found a sick calf taking solace with its mother in a stall.
But the tour wasn't just about looking at sick animals. Students also were introduced to the wide-ranging specialties in veterinary medicine. Ward said there are nearly as many medical specialties in treating animals as there are in people medicine-including cardiology, anesthesiology, orthopedics and neurology.
While one function of the class is to get students to think deeply about human-animal interaction in society, it's also an opportunity for students to explore careers that deal with animals. 
Elizabeth Davis, a biological science major from Adairsville, grew up on a farm with chickens, goats and horses. She is considering career options with animals beyond being a veterinarian.
As she has found out in the class, there are many options.
"I've learned a lot about being a vet and other careers," she said.

Precisely so. Hands-on experience with a variety of subject matter allows students to think broadly about their future, even if they have already decided on a career. Refining our ideas about what we want to do and the best route for our talents is one of the great luxuries [and responsibilities] students enjoy at UGA. The Franklin College plays a crucial role in thse opportunities, providing the space and breadth of faculty expertise for your imagination to roam - and your perceptions to sharpen.

Transgender Awareness Week


The transgender community is an important constituency that helps inform institutional diversity efforts on campus - not unlike many other groups on campus. Where they differ significantly from other groups, however, is the threat of violence that transgender individuals face on a far too consistent basis. To bring added attention to this situation, the University of Georgia Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center will observe Transgender Awareness Week with several events Nov. 18-20:

Transgender activist Luna Merbruja will conduct a workshop titled "Liberation From The Margins: How To Fight Racial, Gender, and Queer Violence" on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. in Room 141 of the Tate Student Center. The workshop will focus on the struggles and violence that queer, transgender and/or people of color face in their homes, workplaces and intimate relationships.

Participants will be given an opportunity to share their experiences of survival, resistance and strategies to address violence, as well as skill sharing to create communities that support one another.

Merbruja will deliver a keynote monologue at 6:30 p.m. in Room B2 of the main library. The performance will be dedicated to the memory of activist Sylvia Rivera and other transgender women of color who fought for liberation.

The performance will illustrate how four decades of resilience has created a platform for queer and transgender liberation to permeate mainstream culture, in which there are visible queer and transgender people of color on news channels, in network series, in magazines and on the New York Times Best Seller list.

See the link for information on more events this week. The LGBT Resource Center does important work in our campus community and the Franklin College supports all efforts to make our community more inclusive. Take advantage of some of these wonderful opportunities this week to learn, acknowledge and celebrate.

The 'Anthro' in Anthropcene


housing.jpgWho is the 'Anthro' in Anthropocene? A very good question, and professor of philosophy and women's studies Chris J. Cuomo provides the answer Thursday at the Chapel in this week's installement of the Anthropocene Lecture Series:

The term “anthropocene” has gained enormous popularity among scientists who believe that we are currently in a global geological era that is distinguished by the extensive and lasting impacts that “human” activities (i.e. fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, pollution, etc.) are having on all of Earth’s vital systems. But should the practices, institutions and decisions that have led to the current global ecological crisis be identified as human activities? Or is it more appropriate to label these activities as Western, modern, or produced by particular value systems? Does the entire human species deserve the “blame” for the problems of current “man-made” global changes, or should scholars and scientists have more specific analyses of the historical causes of present geological trends?

Again, we are very lucky to have this series of engaged, informative public presentations by some of our best faculty members. The ethical and political dimensions of the systems that guide us are probably one of the few routes to informed solutions on public policy questions. But it takes time to learn, and great expertise to teach. You can increase your own level of understanding and build your informed opinion by attending this talk at 7 pm on Thursday. Very few things are so simple and straightforward.

Georgia Debate Union wins Virginia tournament


Feinberg_Boyce_0.jpgA two-person UGA team-Amy Feinberg of Canton, an international affairs and public relations major, and Tucker Boyce of Alpharetta, an economics major - compiled a 9-1 record and emerged victorious at an intercollegiate debate tournament featuring 32 teams from East Coast colleges hosted by Liberty University in early November. The competition included teams from Boston College, Emory University, University of Florida, Georgetown University, University of Kentucky, University of Minnesota, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, Vanderbilt University and Wake Forest University.

This was Feinberg and Boyce's fourth tournament of the season. They have compiled an overall record of 23-12. Their next tournament will be at Wake Forest University, typically the largest intercollegiate debate competition of the fall semester.

"It was great to see Amy and Tucker win a tournament that attracted some of the best debate programs on the East Coast," said Edward Panetta, professor of communication studies and director of the Georgia Debate Union. "They have worked hard with their coaches since early August, and it paid off with a string of solid victories.

"Any time a team wins nine of 10 debates at one tournament, it is a significant accomplishment."

Feinberg and Boyce defeated teams from Florida, Wake Forest and Georgetown on their way to victory. Feinberg also was recognized as the sixth best speaker at the tournament. Congratulations - great job, great students.

Criminal Justice Day at Griffin


320px-Col-Johnson-Liberating-an-Unfortunate-Debtor.jpgCrime and its punishments continue to evolve in the U.S., and the UGA-Griffin campus will hold an informative conference this Friday, "After Mass Incarceration: Charting a Path to the Future," that will offer a look at promising trends in society as well for professionals in the field:

[The conference] will provide an opportunity for professionals from varied areas of criminal justice—law enforcement, law and the courts, corrections and the faith community—to convene and discuss these reforms and their impact on communities and to suggest alternatives to incarceration. Registration is free, but seating is limited.

"State budgets are straining, and recidivism rates have been virtually unaffected after decades of prison population growth, as the national conversation about crime and punishment has shifted," said Elizabeth Watts Warren, a lecturer in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of sociology on the UGA Griffin campus. "Georgia has been at the forefront of that conversation, enacting sweeping criminal justice reforms in 2012 that appear to be paying off as Georgia's prison population has declined each year since the reforms were implemented."

Additional presentations will explore new directions in prosecutions—especially drug offenses, evidence-based strategies to reduce recidivism, innovative practices for strengthening inmates' parental ties, the toll of human trafficking on communities, forensics and the need for broadly trained criminal justice professionals.

The interdisciplinary studies bachelor's degree with concentrations in sociology or psychology offered by the Franklin at the UGA-Griffin campus prepares graduates for a range of careers, including many fields within criminal justice. The conference is free but registration is required. For more details, visit

Taking a closer look at workaholism


What does it mean when work becomes our life, our identity, our primary devotion? The question itself is a function only of higher considerations, a luxury hopefully of which we become availed as society advances. One of the fundamental spilts between the approach to social policy in the U.S. and Europe is over how we see this very question: Workaholism - how does it work?

workaholism tends to produce negative impacts for employers and employees, according to a new study from a University of Georgia researcher.

The study, "All Work and No Play? A Meta-Analytic Examination of the Correlates and Outcomes of Workaholism" published in the Journal of Management, uses existing data to relate the causes and effects of workaholism, including its similarities to other forms of addiction.

"Though there is some disagreement on whether it should be conceptualized as an addiction, some researchers go so far as calling workaholism a ‘positive addiction,'" said Malissa Clark, an assistant professor of industrial/organizational psychology at UGA and lead author on the study. "We recognize in this study that it brings a negative outcome for yourself and the people around you. The mixed rhetoric and research surrounding workaholism provided the need for a thorough quantitative analysis."

Just so, and this is a great point. There's already a lot of research on the subject out there, but the need to understand workaholism remains. Meta-Analysis a statistical technique that involves combining and analyzing the results of many different individual studies devoted to a specific topic, that allows researchers to get a better look at overall trends and identify possible relationships that might exist. That's exactly what Clark and colleagues have done here and the results are very interesting. How to improve the workplace in a way that benefits employees and employers should be of paramount concern. The health of our society is no small part depends on how we appraoch this question, as well as the others that branch our from it. Clark is doing a great job of informing this discussion and we look forward to more.

Halloween edition


pumpkins_.jpgHaunted college campus lists aside, Happy Halloween everyone! What's better than a ghost-y campus - where do we think all that venerable tradition, character and culture comes from, anyway? - than a town that knows how to celebrate Halloween? Hopefully it's one of the many great experiences UGA students take with them wherever they go from here. Tonight's the night - although, in Athens tonight started one week ago and runs through Sunday - so get out and have fun.

Image: wonderfully carved Cucurbits in the grand tradition.